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Log of the Month for October, 2003

From the Outside Looking In
Posted on October 31st, 2003 by Adam Drake

The words had hung in his mind. The statement so brash and cutting lingered in his thoughts and nagged at his every action. It was as if no matter how hard he tried, no matter how hard he fought, it was there piercing through him. Adam attempted – futilely – to brush it off as a mere expression caused by immense amounts of stress and pressure, but he couldn’t deny that hadn’t hurt. It did. His integrity had come under attack, but it wasn’t the first time and he figured that it wouldn’t be the last.

Lieutenant Douglas McKnight. An accomplished individual, to say the least, but Adam already didn’t like him. It wasn’t anything personal as far as despising his entire family, or wishing that terrible pain and horror would befall him, but there was just something about him that irked Adam. The endless corridors that lay before him twisted and spun within the bowels of the Starfleet vessel – Adam surmised that he’d walked them all in his internal rants.

Adam stopped at his quarters and stared at the two-tone durasteel door separating him from his dwelling place. Home had sounded so good on the long walk from engineering, but now it all rushed back at him. The things lurking on the other side of the door were things he couldn’t deal with right now – he couldn’t face them. The comfort of his own bed was calling to him and his eyes sagged heavily from exhaustion, but still he hesitated.

After the doors parted to him and the hissing air melted away into oblivion, Adam took that step that he dreaded after every day. His quarters expanded into a lavish living room with rooms on both ends of the room. Tonight was different. To the south was his storage closet where he kept everything of value, but it was empty. Beyond the north wall lay his bedroom where he would normally sprint, but not tonight.

Most people would expect that his quarters would be filled with trinkets and items of beautiful proportions. Adam wasn’t like most people and residence was filled with nothing more than the bare necessities of what he needed to survive. No large couches with radical designs, no paintings or tapestries hanging from the walls, no color at all – just drab and boring Federation-issue furniture and decorum.

There was one thing, though, that separated Adam’s quarters from the rest. Along the wall where his door was there were several medals and certificates honoring Adam. Most read something along the lines of ‘Humanitarian Excellence’ or ‘Courage under Fire’ or ‘Fighting in the Face of Increasing Odds’. They didn’t mean much anymore to Adam – he knew the real reason they hung on his wall and adorned his bulkheads. It was for his heroism or excellence in the line of duty, no, it was for inability to function.

Adam took a step closer to the awards that he knew he didn’t deserve. His hand reached out – shaking as it extended from his torso – and pulled the nearest one from its place of monument. His fingers danced across the words on its surface. They had long since been removed and replaced at Adam’s request. They no longer had his name, but others that no one but Adam would recognize. They were no longer a memento of Adam’s achievements, but a memorial to those that had died.

His eyes danced across the metallic surface of the commendation. He could still remember the battle, unfortunately, and it came back to him in increasing detail every time he took a moment to mourn the loss of his colleagues. They were just a name on a list to most people, but to him they were his comrades, his friends, and his family. He remembered the screams and the sounds of impending doom as the troops marched on their position.

Sitting down in his favorite chair – his only chair – Adam closed his eyes. He could feel the pain, he could hear the screams, and he could feel the death that was surrounding.


It was all irrelevant now. There was no more excitement and there was no more meaning to the bloody war. Morale was sinking fast and everyone could tell that people no longer wanted to fight in the trenches. The phaser fire that raced over head and electrified the air around them ceased to be anything of notice and when someone fell to the ground after taking a round in the chest no one gave another glance.

Medical personnel was scarce – all were killed doing supply runs or something of the sort. It was all about holding the line and there was an occasional skirmish in which the fighters were snapped back into reality, but it was just a test and the rebellion was quickly extinguished. The days dragged on and on and the redundancy hit everyone hard. After fighting for so long it was becoming tedious to stand at your post for a twenty-four hour period.

1st Lieutenant Adam Drake stood at his post and stared out into the vast unknown. The darkness had shrouded the encampment and the boundary beacons weren’t much help as the black swallowed the light. It was like staring into a pitch-black hallway, but Adam knew that beyond the light evil lurked. He gripped his phaser rifle nonchalantly and leaned against the wall. There hadn’t been much action during the week; a nice break from the constant barrage of ammunition that pounded the camp on an hourly basis.

“Adam, take a break and sit down. Food.” Marine Captain Tyrone Belling stepped up next to his young protégé. He was a man of nearly thirty and his beard was growing in from so long on the front lines. He leaned too on his rifle and gazed at the Lieutenant. “We finally have some time to relax and eat – I’d take advantage of it before it’s gone.”

“Aye, sir. I will sir. In a moment,” Adam turned and faced his commanding officer. Adam didn’t like to break if the enemy was still out there and posing a threat, but everyone knew this and steered clear of calling Adam on it; not his Captain, he made sure that Adam knew that there were times when it was all right to lower your guard.

Belling shook his head, “Now, Adam. I’m not going to have my engineer weak if we need a quick perimeter enhancement or if some of our equipment fails in the middle of a battle. You know you need the nutrition and I know that you do too.” He was on the verge of tapping his toe as he stared down the young Lieutenant.


“Do I need to make this an order, Lieutenant?” Tyrone raised a hand in interruption. It was unusually for a commanding officer to ask a subordinate to do something, but Tyrone Belling found that the men were in better hopes and morale was up if he gave them somewhat of a choice – or at least made it look the officer had one.

Adam shook his head in defeat, “No, sir.” With that he turned on his heel and took a couple of steps down into where the troops slept. Cots were piled to the rafters and people had that aura about them that was all about weakness. You could see it in their eyes, you could hear it dripping from every word, and you could watch knowing that when the eyes closed for a moment’s rest that they’d open to the same hell they’d left.

Someone passing by handed him a ration packet and he sat down amongst the throngs of weary souls. He opened it up and he could smell the synthetic proteins and the replicated nutrients, but he didn’t care at this point. On the front lines, where your life was a precious gift, you were lucky to have anything at all besides dead bodies littered around you and the clothes on your back.

He started chewing away at whatever substance he picked first when one of his friends approached. “Finally taking a break, Drake?” The man smiled, which was a pleasure and an honor to see with so much bloodshed around. “I figured you’d stand in that very spot until the transport came to take you away from this horrible rock. I don’t understand why we’re here – it has no strategic advantage that I can see.”

“It doesn’t matter what you can or can’t see, Kev.” Adam said as he stopped biting on the atrocious meat-like gelatinous goo that he’d picked up. “We could be sitting on the largest dilithium deposit in this sector for all we know.”

Kevin was a young man; barely leaving his teens before stepping foot in mouth of hell. He was clean shaven – for now – and he had that muscular build that all the officers had before succumbing to the lack of supplies and withdrawing themselves into some degree of malnutrition. “It matters to me what we see.” Sitting down, Kevin’s eyes roamed the troops too. “Don’t you think we’d have picked that up though? Or, if it were that large, we’d have some of our own troops and equipment here mining the damn stuff? I mean we’re not baby-sitters, we’re Starfleet Officers.”

“All the more reason to shut up and do what’s asked of us, huh?” Adam smirked for the first time in nearly two weeks – there hadn’t been much to smile about. He polished off the monstrosity of a meal and deposited it nicely in a receptacle before turning to head back to his post. “If you’ll excuse me, Kevin.”

“By all means, don’t talk to me.”

Stopping short of the first step, Adam swiveled and eyed the growing smile on Kevin’s face. “I have a job to do, Mr. Roshak. I would appreciate it if you didn’t stop me from serving the force and bettering our community.” Again, Adam smiled and shook his head.

Kevin stood and cracked his back, yawned loudly and took a step towards his friend. After placing a comforting hand on Adam’s shoulder he whispered in his ear, “You work way too hard, you should really consider – ”


The shouting split through the serene silence like a knife through warm butter. Adam turned on his heel to return to his post, but an orange glow showered him and clouded his vision. A loud sound, like the clap of thunder directly overhead, pierced through the now chaotic night and a powerful blast rocketed Adam and Kevin back. Adam landed hard on his back and skid across the gravel ground and into the far wall.

A pain seared through his head and he almost lost consciousness from the blaring pain. He stumbled up to his feet and looked down at his fallen companion – Kevin lay motionless in the dirt with a portion of his spine arching out from his neck. He sucked up the loss and turned towards the lights, now dusky from the new dust cloud. He touched the back of his skull and was met with a watery substance. Blood.

Adam watched as people ran into the murky cloud and fell helplessly into the dirt because of their haste. Phaser fire singed the are once again and that smell of rotting flesh immediately rose out of the ground. It clogged the air and burned his eyes, but he dared not move. Looking down he saw his confidante and his mentor; his commanding officer. Marine Captain Tyrone Belling; dead before his time.

People screamed in the fog and the falling bodies could be heard more and more frequently. Dominion soldiers rushed from the shroud of mystery and quickly took out three burly security officers with a couple fledgling swings of their rifles. Adam looked for a weapon and couldn’t find one and did the only thing he could do – hide.

Swinging himself into an underground crawl space with an opening just a couple of feet away Adam curled into a ball. He tried to shut out the screams, the agonizing pain lining every yell for help, and tears flowed freely as he heard his friends and his comrades slaughtered. The cries for aid lingered in his thoughts until he passed out from the blood loss.


He cradled the award in his hand with the utmost care, but looked at it with the most disdain he could muster. They dragged his body out of the hole, covered in his own blood, and dirt covering every inch. He was the only survivor of the massacre before reinforcements battled into the area. They decorated him a hero for fighting as long and as hard as he could, but he knew better.

The award was now a shrine to those that could look fate in the eye and battle on. He mounted the commendation back on the gray wall and turned away from it. Adam could once again hear the screams and shouts from that far off place, from that far off memory. He couldn’t bear to see the award he was undeserving of.

With that he marched back out into the hallway and away from that cowardly act. All the stories were the same, all had the same beginning with the same end, but no one ever lived to say otherwise. His past was a sham and he had been decorated a hero when he should have been court-martialed for desertion. What a horrible lie to hold, but he was too much enshrined to call out what he’d really done.

So he would continue on and lead that life and continue that lie. He would uphold whatever values people thought he had and he would proceed to put on the show that he was an honorable man and good officer. In truth, however, he did nothing but run.

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